F-8E(FN) (France)

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A-10A Thunderbolt (Early)
This page is about the jet fighter F-8E(FN) (France). For the other version, see F-8E.
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After failing to design a suitable replacement for the Sud-Est Aquilon, the French looked toward the U.S. for a naval fighter. The French Navy would later select the Vought F-8 Crusader, a single-seat fighter that could serve aboard the smaller French carrier vessels. This required a few airframe modifications like a larger tailplane and more responsive control surfaces. The F-8E (FN) would keep the four 20-mm cannons and the ability to fire AIM-9Bs; however, it was modified to also launch the Matra R530. France ordered 42 Crusaders and would use them for over 30 years until the Dassault Rafale replaced them.

Introduced in Update "Direct Hit", the ▄F-8E(FN) Crusader II is a decent aircraft but with major disadvantages. Firstly, the F-8E (FN) lacks any countermeasures which is a big disappointment for its battle rating where high G missiles are quite common. It can also carry only two Matra Magic 1s which have a short range compared to AIM-9D Sidewinders. The F-8E (FN) also lacks any ground ordnance, so ground attack abilities are very limited. Overall, the F-8E (FN) is okay but the lack of countermeasures, long-range missiles, and ground ordnance greatly limits its capability.

General info

Flight performance

Arrestor gear
Accelerates braking by grabbing the brake cable on the deck of the aircraft carrier
Air brakes
Allows you to dramatically reduce the flight speed by releasing special flaps
Max speed
at 10 668 m2 110 km/h
Turn time29 s
Max altitude16 310 m
EnginePratt & Whitney J57-P-20A
Cooling systemAir
Take-off weight15 t

The French Crusader is a very agile aircraft, propelled by a powerful afterburning jet engine. When equipped with its new boosters and G-suit, it is not uncommon to engage enemy aircraft with double digit load factors. The complement of missiles is installed on horizontal hardpoints, affixed to the fuselage, and the whings are thus free of load, and can support extremely agressive manoeuvres. Also, it's enormous tail planes gives the Crusader high angles of attack capabilities.

The aircraft does not compress at high speeds but will tend to consume its energy while dogfighting relatively quickly, when compared to the extremely light F-5, or the gigantically powered MiG-21. This means that agressive manoeuvres should be reserved for clean kills, whereas speed is the Crusader's ally in furballs, constantly harrassing enemies, engaged elsewhere, or unaware of its presence. Speed-wise, the French Crusader is victim to a strange effect, that makes it often stuck at Mach 1.00, close to sea level. while it's acceleration is on-par, when compared to its contemporaries. Researching new airframe and engine upgrades tend to mitigate this effect, but never alleviate it completely.

Characteristics Max Speed
(km/h at 10,668 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
Stock 2,094 2,087 16310 29.4 30.6 108.8 98.4 1,828
Upgraded 2,133 2,110 28.6 29.0 158.3 132.0


Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear Drogue chute

The Crusader is a heavy carrier-borne fighter. Because of its weight, it is constructed with a variable angle of attack wing plane. This means that the wings can change position to act as a single, giant, take-off flap (see picture). This feature is not associated to the "variable geometry" control input, but rather is considered the Landing position of the flaps.

Demonstration of the two flaps position and the associated wing movement on the F-8E(FN).
Demonstration of the two flaps position and the associated wing movement on the F-8E(FN).

It is possible to use this feature to its advantage in a low speed dogfight, and using the higher angle of attack to turn into the circle of the opponent, sacrificing your own speed in the process, to attack with a missile or gun fire. Note that whether the manoeuvre succeeds or fails, the Crusader with be left in a extremely vulnerable position until it regains speed.

Wings (km/h) Gear (km/h) Flaps (km/h) Max Static G
Combat Take-off Landing + -
1,555 428 1,070 N/A 583 ~10 ~4
Optimal velocities (km/h)
Ailerons Rudder Elevators Radiator
< 1,000 < 590 < 500 N/A

Engine performance

Engine Aircraft mass
Engine name Number Basic mass Wing loading (full fuel)
Pratt & Whitney J57-P-20A 1 9,084 kg 380 kg/m2
Engine characteristics Mass with fuel (no weapons load) Max Takeoff
Weight (each) Type 15m fuel 20m fuel 30m fuel 45m fuel 52m fuel
1,592 kg Afterburning axial-flow turbojet 10,331 kg 10,681 kg 11,479 kg 12,676 kg 13,240 kg 15,468 kg
Maximum engine thrust @ 0 m (RB/SB) Thrust to weight ratio @ 0 m (WEP)
Condition 100% WEP 15m fuel 20m fuel 30m fuel 45m fuel 52m fuel MTOW
Stationary 4,562 kgf 8,520 kgf 0.83 0.80 0.74 0.67 0.64 0.55
Optimal 4,804 kgf
(1,000 km/h)
9,543 kgf
(1,200 km/h)
0.92 0.89 0.83 0.75 0.72 0.62

Survivability and armour

Crew1 person
Speed of destruction
Structural0 km/h
Gear428 km/h

The F-8E(FN) possesses no armour on any part of the aircraft. it has a 25 mm thick bulletproof glass front canopy reclined at 70°, and self-sealing tanks. These protection devices are of very little help, because such a thickness of bulletproof glass will virtually never stop cold war era jet guns, ranging in the 20-30 mm of diameter, and the self-sealing tanks are incapable of sealing even a single hole of such a diameter. Overall, the Crusader has little chances of surviving a missile hit, but can sometimes be seen surviving a 20 mm volley, just enough to get its pilot back to base, although it remains a minority of occurrences.

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB3 199 → 4 286 Sl icon.png
RB10 134 → 13 579 Sl icon.png
SB10 418 → 13 960 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications226 000 Rp icon.png
354 000 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost2 800 Ge icon.png
Crew training200 000 Sl icon.png
Experts710 000 Sl icon.png
Aces2 800 Ge icon.png
Research Aces1 080 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
130 / 340 / 600 % Sl icon.png
232 / 232 / 232 % Rp icon.png
Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
Mods aerodinamic fuse.png
Fuselage repair
11 000 Rp icon.png
17 000 Sl icon.png
300 Ge icon.png
Mods jet compressor.png
11 000 Rp icon.png
17 000 Sl icon.png
300 Ge icon.png
Mods booster.png
New boosters
17 000 Rp icon.png
27 000 Sl icon.png
470 Ge icon.png
Mods aerodinamic wing.png
Wings repair
14 000 Rp icon.png
22 000 Sl icon.png
390 Ge icon.png
Mods jet engine.png
14 000 Rp icon.png
22 000 Sl icon.png
390 Ge icon.png
Mods g suit.png
25 000 Rp icon.png
39 000 Sl icon.png
690 Ge icon.png
Mods armor frame.png
17 000 Rp icon.png
27 000 Sl icon.png
470 Ge icon.png
Mods armor cover.png
25 000 Rp icon.png
39 000 Sl icon.png
690 Ge icon.png
Mods ammo.png
11 000 Rp icon.png
17 000 Sl icon.png
300 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 1.png
Mods air to air missile.png
11 000 Rp icon.png
17 000 Sl icon.png
300 Ge icon.png
Mods air to air missile.png
Matra R530
17 000 Rp icon.png
27 000 Sl icon.png
470 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods weapon.png
14 000 Rp icon.png
22 000 Sl icon.png
390 Ge icon.png
Mods air to air missile.png
Matra R530E
14 000 Rp icon.png
22 000 Sl icon.png
390 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods air to air missile.png
Matra R550 Magic 1
25 000 Rp icon.png
39 000 Sl icon.png
690 Ge icon.png

As any fighter of its battle rating, the missiles complement are an absolute priority, multiplying the capabilities of the aircraft tenfold. Every missile type is stacked in a single line, and the aircraft is the last of its line, meaning each component is very expensive, RP wise. Nevertheless, each new missile component is an upgrade from the last, finishing with the dreaded Matra 550 Magic 1 missile.

The components associated with the airflow dynamics of the aircraft are also important.


Offensive armament

Ammunition500 rounds
Fire rate996 shots/min

The F-8E(FN) (France) is armed with:

  • 4 x 20 mm Browning-Colt Mk12 Mod 3 cannons, cheek-mounted (125 rpg = 500 total)

The 20 mm Browning-Colt Mk12 Mod 3 cannons are stacked in the centre of the aircraft, on each side of the air intake. It is to be noted that unlike the French 30 mm DEFA guns, that are on every French made aircraft from BR 8.3 up to this BR, these guns carry a much smaller explosive charge per round, but at a substantially higher velocity, allowing to fire at opponents with a lower lead.

Warning: These cannons can and will overheat extremely quickly, after a salvo of approximately 1.2 - 1.4 seconds. Short bursts are advised, as they are often sufficient and conserve ammunition.

Suspended armament

List of setups (6)
Setup 12 x AIM-9B Sidewinder air-to-air missiles
Setup 24 x AIM-9B Sidewinder air-to-air missiles
Setup 32 x Matra R530E air-to-air missiles
Setup 42 x Matra R530 air-to-air missiles
Setup 51 x Matra R530E air-to-air missiles
1 x Matra R530 air-to-air missiles
Setup 62 x Matra R550 Magic 1 air-to-air missiles

The F-8E(FN) (France) can be outfitted with the following ordnance:

  • Without load
  • 2 x AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles
  • 4 x AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles
  • 2 x Matra R530E missiles
  • 2 x Matra R530 missiles
  • 1 x Matra R530 missile + 1 x Matra R530E missile
  • 2 x Matra R550 Magic 1 missiles

The whole range of suspended armament available to the French F-8E(FN) are exclusively air-to-air missiles.

The AIM-9B Sidewinder are of poor performance at this tier and can only be used against players that are unaware of the Crusader's presence. They are sufficient to engage and destroy AI aircraft to gain the necessary research points to unlock the next missiles. Note that these missiles are the only ones that can be carried in a cluster of four.

The Matra 530 is a good upgrade from the AIM-9B Sidewinder. The radar-guided 530 gives the Crusader BVR capabilities, and all-aspect capabilities, that are superior in range (albeit less agile) to the radar-guided AIM-9C carried by the American counterpart of the F-8E. The usage of a radar guided missile with a flare-less aircraft can be dangerous because the optimal altitudes of the missile will not allow the F-8E to evade any incoming enemy threats, if they also carry radar missiles.

The Matra 530E, unlocked after the 530 is a viable alternative to the 530 if the player has not mastered the radar guidance, or simply doesn't like the radar-guided version.

At rank 4 of modifications, the Matra 550 Magic 1 is unlocked. With its 30G overload, and Mach 3.00 max speed, this missile is a revolution in the arsenal of the Crusader, giving it the capability to fire a missile in dogfight, as a snap-fire, or off-boresight. The Magic 1 is also slaved to the radar, giving it an even higher hit-probability if the target is tracked by radar at launch.

Overall, the complement of missiles available to the F-8E(FN) is representative to the French cold war missile arsenal, with different engagement methods, tracking systems, and size.

Usage in battles

The entirety of the tactics available to the F-8E(FN) are limited by its lack of flares. The French Crusader will not be able to survive a missile exchange, and is vulnerable to all-aspect IR missiles, that are available to some aircraft at this tier.

In the same concept, the French Crusader cannot be played at high altitude like its American counterpart, because it will be quickly picked off by a radar-guided missile like an early AIM-7 Sparrow, AIM-9C, or R-3R that it will not be able to evade.

With these two factors into account, the F-8E(FN) must be played as a harrasser. The missiles it can carry emphasize this, as they are either not very manoeuvrable, or have a short range.

If a French F-8E arrives onto an already engaged enemy group, it can wreak havoc with its high manoeuvrability, and engage basically any target with great effect. As long as attention is not drawn onto the Crusader, it can re-engage at will, always keeping up its speed, picking off enemies.

If despite that, a missile is fired upon the French Crusader, its speed protects it from most IR missiles like the AIM-9B/E, or the R-60 and will outrun them. This is not the case for later generation AIM-9Ls and equivalents.

As with its neighbours in the french tech-tree, the Mirage IIIC and the Mirage 5F (and the Milan, to some extent), the aircraft has to remain close to supersonic as much as possible.

Overall, the F-8E(FN) is a quite difficult aircraft to master, especially selecting when and where to strike and where not to, but the skills developed while playing it are very useful for the entirety of the other French supersonic jets.

Pros and cons


  • Powerful air-to-air missiles available
    • R550 Magic 1s have high manoeuvrability
    • R530E missiles have long range and can catch opponents by surprise
  • Landing flaps activate its variable-incidence wings, which provides a lot of lift
  • Very good sustained turn rate
  • Good acceleration and climb rate


  • Although it has powerful air-to-air missiles, it can only take two of them at once
  • Fragile wings, easy to rip at high speeds and in high-G turns
  • Fuel tank placement on aircraft makes it very likely to be set on fire
  • Slow low level top speed compared to other supersonic competitors; can barely get past Mach 1 at low altitude
  • No flare/chaff countermeasures
  • No ground attack payload options whatsoever


To replace the aging Sud-Est Aquilon, a variant of the Sea Venom, France was looking for a new aircraft that could serve aboard the new French carrier vessels. After many failed designs were submitted by the native French air industry, the French Navy looked towards foreign aircraft for a replacement. The Vought F-8 Crusader was selected and an order of 40 single F-8E and six TF-8E (two-seaters) was placed. Unfortunately, the two-seat variant of the Crusader never came to fruition and the order was changed to 42 single-seat F-8Es. The French F-8E would later be designated the F-8E (FN), the "FN" signifying the French Navy.

The first deliveries of the French Crusaders began in the mid-1960s and were sent to two squadrons, Flotille 12F and Flotille 14F. The F-8E (FN) had the standard armament of four 20-mm cannons mounted in the nose and the ability to utilize AIM-9B Sidewinders. In addition, the F-8E (FN) was modified to launch and carry both the infrared and radar variants of the Matra 530 missile. There was also an upgrade program in the early 1990s that introduced IFF, ILS, a radar altimeter, and more. It took roughly three years for the program to be completed. In 2000, the F-8E (FN) was finally replaced by the Dassault Rafale.



See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the aircraft;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

External links

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • other literature.

Chance Vought Aircraft
Corsair  F4U-1A · F4U-1A (USMC) · F4U-1C · F4U-1D · F4U-4 · F4U-4B · F4U-4B VMF-214
Float planes  OS2U-1 · OS2U-3
Attackers  AU-1
Bombers  SB2U-2 · SB2U-3
Jet aircraft 
Corsair II  A-7D · A-7E · A-7K
Crusader  F8U-2 · F-8E
Export  V-156-B1 · V-156-F · ▄Corsair F Mk II · F4U-7 · ▄F-8E(FN)
Captured  ▅F4U-1A

France jet aircraft
Fighters  M.D.450B Ouragan · M.D.450B Barougan · M.D.452 IIA · M.D.452 IIC · Mystere IVA · Super Mystere B2
  ▄F-86K · ▄F-100D · ▄F-8E(FN)
  Mirage IIIC · Mirage IIIE · Milan · Mirage 5F · Mirage 2000C-S4 · Mirage 2000C-S5 · Mirage 2000-5F · Mirage 4000
  Mirage F1C · Mirage F1C-200 · Mirage F1CT
Strike aircraft  ▄F-84F · F-84F IAF · ▄F-84G-26-RE
  Etendard IVM · Super Etendard · Alpha Jet E
  Jaguar A · Jaguar E · Mirage 2000D-R1
Bombers  S.O.4050 Vautour IIA · Vautour IIA IDF/AF · S.O.4050 Vautour IIB · S.O.4050 Vautour IIN · S.O.4050 Vautour IIN (late)
Belgium  ▄Meteor F Mk.8 · ▄Mirage 5BA · ▄F-104G · ▄F-16A · ▄F-16AM
Netherlands  ◘Hunter F.6